First Fungus Walk of the Season, 12-19-19

Around 8:00 am I headed over to the American River Bend Park for a fungus walk.  It was overcast and foggy when I got there, but the clouds broke up a bit by the late afternoon.  It was 47° when I got to the park, and around 53° when I left.

Start Time: 8:30 am
Start Temperature: 47º F
End Temperature: 53º F
Weather: Overcast, light fog, no rain
Total Hours in the field (includes travel time): 4 hours
Kilometers Walked: 3
Number of Individual Species Noted Today: 40

One of the big stands of Honey Fungus.

Some of the spots that had been my go-to places for fungi at the park went through forest fires this year, so they aren’t producing a lot this year.  But I was still able to find some fungi throughout the park (even though it’s also still relatively “early” in the season) including two kinds of jelly fungus, several different species of mushrooms, some polypores and bracket fungus, puff balls, and several species of crust fungus.  As before, there were also huge stands of Honey Fungus all over the place.  I also came across what I think was a kind of slime mold, but I haven’t identified it fully yet. I think it’s Physarum leucopus,the Many-Headed Slime Mold, also called White-Gray Button, but I’m not certain. It was tinier than other specimens of the mold I’ve seen before.

As yet unidentified mold going to spore… possibly Physarum leucopus, also called the White-Gray Button Slime Mold and the Many-Headed Slime Mold.

I was hoping to find some coral fungus and maybe a specimen of cauliflower fungus, but no such luck.  I’ll keep looking though.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Many of the mushrooms had visible hyphae at the end of the stipe (or attachment to the substrate.) “…Hypha, each of the branching filaments that make up the mycelium of a fungus. Mycelia are simply collections of hyphae that are abundant enough to form a visible mass. Fungi can appear to be marvelously complex things, producing mushrooms, intricate coral-like structures and large brackets on trees. However, all of these manifestations are formed of the same basic fungal unit, the hypha (plural: hyphae). Hyphae are long tubular structures resembling garden hoses. They have rigid cell walls that may be reinforced by perforated cross-walls called septa (singular: septum). Hyphae perform a variety of functions in fungi. They contain the cytoplasm or cell sap, including the nuclei containing genetic material. Hyphae absorb nutrients from the environment and transport them to other parts of the thallus (fungus body). Finally, they may become bound together or modified to form more complex structures. The vast majority of fungi produce hyphae and only a much smaller number, the yeasts live without…”

When I’m looking for fungi, I’m looking “down” for tiny thingies most of the time, so I often miss the big stuff going on around me like a large five-point buck who stepped out from behind a fallen tree into view, and a mama deer with her floofy-looking fawn (all of his fur had been licked-up by his mom, so he was extra fuzzy all over). Glad I looked UP between mushrooms. Hah!

Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus, doe and fawn.

I also came across one spot where there were about 15 Turkey Vultures flying overhead. I don’t know if they were zeroing in on something dead, or if they were just “kettling” on the updraft there.

I walked for three hours and then headed back home.

Speaking of fungi, my fungi article was featured in the latest edition of “The Acorn”, the quarterly magazine published by the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve. You can see it here.

Species List:

  • Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  • Barometer Earthstar fungus, Astraeus hygrometricus
  • Black Jelly Roll fungus, Exidia glandulosa
  • Brown Jelly Fungus, Jelly Leaf, Tremella foliacea
  • Bryum Moss, Bryum capillare
  • Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  • Common Ink Cap Mushroom, Coprinopsis atramentaria
  • Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  • Dryad’s Saddle, Hawk’s Wing, Polyporus squamosus
  • Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  • Fairy Ring Mushroom, Scotch Bonnet, Marasmius oreades
  • False Turkey Tail fungus, Stereum hirsutum
  • False Turkey Tail fungus, Stereum Ostrea
  • Gem-Studded Puffball, Common Puffball, Lycoperdon perlatum
  • Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  • Golden Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  • Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  • Honey Fungus, Armillaria mellea
  • Honey Fungus, Ringless Honey Fungus, Armarilla tabescens
  • Horsehair Mushroom, Gymnopus androsaceus
  • House Wren, Troglodytes aedon
  • Jack-o-Lantern Mushroom, Omphalotus olearius
  • Many-Headed Slime Mold, Physarum leucopus
  • Mower’s Mushroom, Haymaker Mushroom, Panaeolus foenisecii
  • Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  • Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri
  • Ocre Spreading Tooth Fungus, Steccherinum ochraceum
  • Pinwheel Mushroom, marasmius capillaris
  • Pleated Ink Cap, Parasol Ink Cap, Parasola plicatilis
  • Puffball Fungus, Bovista californica
  • Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  • Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  • Rusty Tussock Moth, Orgyia antiqua [cocoons]
  • Split Porecrust, Schizopora paradoxa
  • Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  • Star Moss, Syntrichia ruralis
  • Sunburst Lichen, Xanthoria elegans
  • Turkey Tail Fungus, Trametes versicolor
  • Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  • Witches Butter, Tremella mesenterica